Blog 2/5/2018

Three Tips for Improving Millennial New Hire Benefits Onboarding

Millennials are now the largest component of today’s active workforce. While millennials are no longer the “job hoppers” of old, they tend to be the least engaged of any generation, with only 29 percent saying they feel engaged in their jobs. Since engagement affects job satisfaction, productivity and profitability, it’s important to ensure that they feel engaged from the start of a new job.

Benefits enrollment is one component of onboarding that affects their engagement. When it comes to benefits onboarding for new millennial employees, be sure to use an approach tailored to their life situations and experience with benefits.

Here are three tips to keep in mind while planning:

1. Take time to explain basics

Millennials can be split into two groups. The first, younger millennials in their 20s, are just launching their careers. For some, their new job at your company could be their first full-time position after college. As a result, they’re likely new to the process of choosing benefits.

Despite their lack of experience in this area, young millennials care a lot about benefits. 72 percent of millennial employees say they’re at least “somewhat” likely to opt for a job that offers better benefits and lower pay, a finding that may seem counterintuitive since young people are decades away from retirement and typically are not expecting major health expenses in the near term. Take the time to explain the basics of health insurance, including deductibles, co-pays and provider networks, and remember that these employees may still have the option of remaining covered through their parents’ plan. Given their inexperience with benefits and how to choose them, consider providing the option of one-on-one benefits education (either through HR, your broker or an outside enrollment-support firm).

2. Personalize the conversation

Another key point to consider is personalizing the benefits conversation based on each new hire’s life situation. For example, whereas the younger group of millennials are just starting their careers and need information on insurance basics, millennials in their 30s are typically in a much different life stage: getting married, starting families and buying homes.

As a result, this group is likely more concerned about family protection and are often thinking about benefits that they’ve never bought previously. Consider focusing on basic, supplemental and dependent life insurance, AD&D coverage, and voluntary benefits for this group, and make the connection between such coverages and financial security. Financial stress can affect an employee’s health and productivity, so addressing these concerns on day one can help ensure a faster return on your investment in your new hire.

3. Provide support

Just as a good onboarding program lasts for more than a day, a week or even a month, benefits support should extend before, during and well after enrollment.

Keep in mind that benefits are confusing to even the most experienced employee. In fact, according to Aflac, over 70 percent of millennial workers say that reading over benefits options is “long, complicated or stressful.” Furthermore, more than a third said that the thought of enrolling in a benefits plan made them anxious. Ideally, provide information about benefits options before the employees’ first day, so they have a chance to familiarize themselves with their choices. Don’t just provide a website or stack of paper and require your new hire to self-enroll—make sure there is someone knowledgeable about the company’s benefit plans to help them understand their options and enroll.

After enrollment, check in every few months to ensure that your new millennial employees are comfortable using their new benefits. Provide a resource to go to if they have questions about their plans and how to use them, such as locating a network doctor or understanding how their deductibles work. Providing support will demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ health and well-being, help build job satisfaction and lead to more productive and engaged new hires.

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